Lesson 310: Alaska: The Wilderness of the Volcanoes

Two of Alaska’s cast national parks, Lake Clark and Katmai, have endured a heritage of volcanic explosions, Lake Clark is a wilderness of endless forests, lakes, marshes, glaciers, and recently active volcanoes, while nearby Katmai, born of one of history’s most violent explosions, shows the aftermath of a cataclysmic eruption a century ago and how the rainforests and inhabitants have recovered. Both parks are home to abundant wildlife, while villages of native Americans continue as well, along with their traditions.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about Lake Clark and Katmai, two national parks in Alaska, home to abundant wildlife and villages of Native Americans.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places & Environments C, F, H, I

Discussion Prompts

  • Transportation or lack of it impacts quality of life. Discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of living in a place with limited access to basic needs.
  • Lake Clark is remote, undeveloped, vast, with limited access and cold during nine months out of the year. What might be some of the things that tourists do and don’t do while visiting the park? What attracts people to the park?
  • Many Native Americans were not allowed to speak their language in school even though they were in their own villages. Discuss some of the consequences of such actions. Were such rules beneficial or detrimental to those people? What might have been an alternative?
  • What are some interesting characteristics bears and humans have in common? What are some of the facts you learned about the bears in this video that surprised you? What wild animals are common to your area?

Lesson Activities

  • The residents of the Lake Katmai region have three months to plant and grow vegetables due to the cold weather. What alternative uses of land and resources could be introduced to extend the three months to grow food? Create a display to share your ideas with the locals.
  • The mode of transportation to the islands is air. The airplane David Yetman flew into the park seemed to be too small to carry big items seen in the video such as cars and generators.
  • Research how those goods reached that community and write an article about the process of the delivery of goods to the area. Could it be improved or is it cost prohibitive?
  • What are some of the cultural customs and ideas the locals are trying to pass on to the other generation? List at least three types of evidence from the video and one that you did not see but you think it would be important to pass it along.
  • Create a picture of your favorite scenic moment. Include in the drawing the following geographic features: lake, marshes, and glaciers.


  • abundant
  • aftermath
  • cataclysmic
  • eruption
  • glaciers
  • icebergs
  • inhabitants
  • marshes
  • sparse
  • tundra


Lesson Plan S03E10